Monday, September 10, 2007

My suspicions are confirmed. (REVISED)

I am always complaining that no one in my home ever listens to me. Honestly, it's like I am an idiot or speaking another language. My older kids will look right at me when I am talking and come away with no comprehension of what I just said. Then when I ask why they didn't do the thing I asked them to, or why they didn't know what they needed to, they do one of two things. They pretend they heard me and just forgot, (Sometimes I think I may just ban the words "I forgot" from this household altogether) or they try to act like I never said it in the first place. But I know the truth. They just tune me out, certain, in the way of adolescents everywhere, that I couldn't possibly be saying anything worth listening to. And well, it's aggravating.

Today the little ones and I went grocery shopping to restock the house after our beach trip. When I returned home Brandon was home from high school and sitting on the couch watching TV. Clara was grouchy and Ben needed a nap. So I said,

"Brandon, please bring in the groceries. And then I need you to put them away. I need to feed Clara and get Ben down for his nap"

I then proceeded to do what I needed to and when I finally made it back to the kitchen to check on how Clara was doing on her lunch I noticed all the grocery bags melting on the counters. Brandon was back in front of the TV. Exasperated, I barked at him,

"Brandon! What are you doing? I asked you to put the groceries away! Weren't you listening to me?!"

To which he responded:

"I was listening. I heard you say 'Bring the groceries in from the car' and then I heard 'blah, blah, blah'."

Oh yes he did. He totally did.

And I think I liked it better when he at least pretended.

It is a testament to my inadequacies as a writer that I did not even attempt to convey the tone in which Brandon made his statement. It was a wry confession given in laughter, not spite. He was, in his typically humorous, and slightly callous, way admitting that he had tuned me out after the first sentence. I didn't laugh about it then, because I was irritated and really wanted contrition not humor. But this evening, when thinking back on it, I did find it funny. It was very much a retort The Man would have given me while confessing he wasn't listening. But I am still not quite comfortable having that dynamic with my son. Even my teenage son. Maybe especially my teenage son.

And I am sure my response was nothing witty. Just more barking about how much easier things would be for him if he would learn how to listen. Typical mom babble.

Heh. No wonder he tunes me out.


Kyla said...

Hahaha! I have to confess that sometimes, I do the same thing to Josh! Especially when blogging. Then he says something really outrageous to test me, to which I typically say, "MMmmhhmmm. Sounds nice." Ooops.

slouching mom said...

Oh. We have this problem at my house, too!

Lori said...

I think you should keep this one in your vault, and pull it back out when he least expects it. Sometime when he asks something of you, do it half-way, and when he asks why you didn't complete the task for him you can say, "Well, I heard the first part, but then all I heard was blah, blah, blah.... Sorry!" :)

Sister K said...

if you finish this blog and tell us what you did after he said "blah, blah, blah" i'm sure it'd be a winner for WME pts. :)

Christine said...

oh. my. goodness.

teenagers scare the crap outta me.

this must be infuriating and hurtful all at the same time. ;-(

Beck said...

Kids are so freaking rude!

Child Life said...

Oh Nooooo! My jaw is on the keyboard and I am trying to imagine what I would have said...

I hope you post the follow-up story : )

Lori said...

I could hear the tone in his voice all along. I have a son who knows how to walk that delicate balance between humor and sarcasm as well. But, I also understand that you have to hear the tone to really "get it" sometimes.

That's why I chuckled, not gasped, when I read the story the first time. I knew he was exercising his more sophisticated funny bone. But, it is oddly disconcerting to have our kids relating to us on a more level playing field. Very odd.

Christy said...

I was that kid not long ago. At the moment that role is being filled by my younger sister and brother. I sit in watch in horror as they talk to my parents, and realize how aweful it is. I regret it now, and I am sure will be paid back the day my daughter is old enough :(

Lisa writes... said...

My children are guilty of selective hearing as well...unless I speaking in quiet undertones to their dad concerning things I'd rather they not hear...